Thursday, September 12, 2019

McCalls 7774

I cut this maxi dress out a couple of weeks ago. Its the last garment from my summer cut pile to be sewn. As I was working on it, I was thinking of how much I was enjoying the process. I wasn't rushing through to finish it. I wasn't short cutting any of the sewing, I was just happy to be in the minute...and I thought Cynthia Guffey would be proud.

Seeing her at a Sewing Expo changed my sewing life and helped me get pass the fast, faster, fastest sewing that had been ingrained in me by the pattern companies. 

I know quite a few of my summer makes have had piping, pattern matching and several sewing techniques in them. But the pieces I'm creating now are the embodiment of my slow sewing/enjoying the process journey.

Shew what an intro! *LOL* I've had this pattern in my collection since it came out last summer.  But even as much as I sew, I don't get to all of the things on my list. Sometimes it's lack of time...sometimes I haven't matched a fabric to it...sometimes I'm on another sewing journey and it doesn't work with where I'm going.

Since I was sewing maxi dresses with full bodies this summer, this pattern now fits into my sewing journey. And even though it worked, you see I didn't get to it until September. I definitely have more sewing ideas than I have time...okay reeling it back in!

Supplies ~
3 yards of a linen border print from Fabric Mart (part of my Summer Sew Camp fabric haul - there is still some left in other colors - the green is sold out!)
22" brown invisible zipper
Brown bemberg lining from the collection
Braided brown piping also from the collection

Pattern Alterations ~
1. I added a graduated 1" to the front and back bodice pieces

Front piece

Back Bodice altered

2. Due to my fabric choice I didn't use the the skirt piece because it has an a-line design. I cut the rectangle from the length and width of the fabric.

Those were the only pattern alterations made.

Design Choices ~
I added piping to the neckline and armhole. I didn't plan to do that but was rambling around in the piping/binding drawer for another project and touched the brown piping and went down the rabbit hole. 

While I like the brown piping, I overworked it when I added it to the armholes. They are a bit wide and it's definitely due to the piping and self made bias binding I added to the armholes.

The other design choice was the border print fabric. I wanted the dramatic of a border print to add to the dress design. I think the fabric does bring the drama.

Construction ~
This is an easy dress to construct. However, I understand why there have been more shorter versions of this dress made than the maxi one. There is alot of gathering at the high empire line in the maxi dress if you use the actual pattern pieces. This amount of gathering is not very flattering.

I also had to take the skirt off and reapply it to line up the main lines of the fabric in the front of the dress. It gave the dress a more appealing line.

Inserting the invisible zipper was slightly challenging due to all of the fabric in the dress.  Otherwise an easy sew.

A Few Pictures ~

I had another piece of fabric pulled to cut a striped version of this dress, like it's pictured on the pattern envelope. After making this one, I wasn't that enthralled with the finished dress. Not to say I won't wear this maxi dress, because I will, but not enough to make another one.

I have one more maxi dress in the cut pile. One I can wear with a denim jacket into October before it turns cold. I also have several garments that I want to remake/refashion into more usuable pieces, as well as a couple of shirts that I've started. So in short, I've been sewing... always more later!


  1. Hi Carolyn.It's been a while !! I really like this dress and the fabric is gorgeous.I know what you mean about slow sewing.I did a lot of that this summer after the crazy pace of sewing for my fashion shows.I enjoyed every minute of my "selfish sewing "

  2. Lovely color combination, the mint and brown.You did a beautiful job with the fit and details and slow sewing is really taking you to new places on your journey. Very pretty, Carolyn.

    So very pretty and it fits beautifully. Who would have thought mint green and brown would go so well together. It is such fun to be sewing mindfully and not on that "whip it out" routine. I am glad you have found that joy in your sewing and it shows.

  3. I think the simple style suits the border print fabric and lets it sing.

  4. This is a lovely, well-fitted garment. I join you in promoting slow, thoughtful sewing. Unless I really need a quick sew I love slow sewing. Karen

  5. This may be my favorite! That fabric is very cooling and minimalist! It look great on you!

  6. Love the fabric and the dress is very attractive. We are our harshest critics. I enjoy your blog very much

  7. This turned out perfect! Keep on me to sew up my piece - see, style icon ;) I think the piping add just that little bit of extra something. I love how it looks on the neckline and gives the eyes a resting place at the armholes. g

  8. another great use of border print fabric, very pretty

  9. Beautiful use of your fabric. At least, it is still summer. I am cutting my summer things now. I can think I am just ahead for next year. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Your dress came out great! The brown piping is a great touch. I made the S8871 from this fabric with a brown gauze sash, and I love how the brown plays up and accents the design! I have enough left for a maxi skirt, and I'll be cutting that this weekend. It seems like a great choice for fall!

  11. By enlarging the pattern photo, I see the details in the dress bodice and am really unimpressed with their version (the stripes in version c are...why use stripes if it's all cut up like that? It's not even using the bias to it's advantage).
    I guess this comes back to: why do you even bother to buy a new pattern? You have all the tools right there at your fingertips, and your version is sooooo much better than theirs. Still, take inspiration where you find it. And this is very inspired.

  12. Lovely dress. I love that mint green color on you and the brown details bring out the design!

  13. the dress is so much better than the pattern envelope's versions. your creativity is the key to this great look!--anne


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